Energy networks

Editor's picks

RenewableUK has called for Ofgem’s remit to be more firmly tied to the UK’s net zero emissions target, arguing the regulator is still treating the commitment as a “future aspiration or even an uncertainty”. Rebecca Williams, head of policy and regulation for the trade body, made the comments in response Ofgem’s final determinations for the RIIO2 price controls for transmission, gas distribution and the electricity system operator.
News
Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have published an open letter announcing the next steps in their joint review of the offshore transmission regime. The review will be split into three main workstreams covering “early opportunities”, the “pathway to 2030” and the “enduring regime”, as well as a fourth cross-cutting workstream on multi-purpose interconnectors.
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Featured

In its final determinations for gas and transmission networks and methodology for the electricity distribution price control, Ofgem appears to have moved much closer to the government’s vision for net zero. Nicholas Cass-Tansey and Allan Boardman, energy and utilities experts at PA Consulting, give their views.
Opinion
Research by the Fuel Bank Foundation has found that only 9 per cent of customers would contact their utility supplier if they were struggling to pay their bills – with the majority more likely to speak to a charity or local organisation. The foundation’s chair of trustees, Matt Cole, reflects on how the sector can forge innovative two-way partnerships to drive a real step change for customers.
Opinion
The finalists for the prestigious Utility Week Awards 2020 have been revealed. The winners in 13 categories will be unveiled in a virtual ceremony on 8 February 2021.
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Latest in Energy networks

The host of the UK's most popular radio show will be revealing the winners of the prestigious Utility Week Awards at next month's virtual awards.
News
The Independent System Operator proposed by Ofgem should form part of a National Energy Agency tasked with overseeing the wider transition to net zero emissions, a senior figure at KPMG has argued. Simon Virley, a partner at the firm and its head of energy and natural resources, said there are “plenty of precedents” for such an agency, both in Britain and overseas.
News
Hydrogen could be pumped into the gas network before the end of this decade, the secretary of state for business and energy, Kwasi Kwarteng, has said. But he warned that first of all, the public needs to be reassured the technology is safe.
News
Shell has agreed to buy Ubitricity, the owner of more than 2,700 charge points across the UK, representing a market share of more than 13 per cent. Shell said the acquisition marks its expansion into the fast-growing on-street EV charging market and would help it to scale its overall charging offer.
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In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, Eon has had to lock some online accounts after a security breach. Meanwhile, Hitachi has rejected pleas from unions to keep its Welsh nuclear power project alive; there are calls for Britain to build gigafactories to accelerate the electric vehicle transition and Schneider Electric has topped a global league of green firms
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Ofgem has recommended the full separation of the electricity system operator (ESO) from the National Grid. Following a review, the regulator concluded that key gas network planning functions should also be hived off, to create a new independent energy system operator.
News
Gas networks in Great Britain have released a joint plan for their conversion to deliver hydrogen over the coming years. The roadmap includes proposals to begin blending hydrogen into the gas grid at rates of up 20 per cent from 2023, create the first hydrogen neighbourhood by 2025 and the first hydrogen village and then town by the end of the decade, supported by 5GW of production capacity. Utility Week speaks to the Energy Networks Association's head of gas Matt Hindle about the next steps.
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Code administrator Elexon has been selected by Ofgem as the senior responsible owner (SRO) for the implementation of Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS). Previous proposals had Ofgem as both programme sponsor and SRO. However in a consultation document the energy regulator unveiled plans to place responsibility for management and delivery of the programme with industry, with Elexon acting as SRO.
News
Ofgem has given preliminary approval to a modification to the Uniform Network Code that would reintroduce the short-haul discount that was removed as part of the revamp of gas transmission charges which took effect at the beginning of October. UNC728B would provide a discount of between 10 per cent and 90 per cent on gas transmission charges for users connected within 28 kilometres of an entry point to discourage them from constructing their own pipelines to bypass the network.
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National Grid has opened access to its second electricity interconnector linking the UK to France, which is now able transmit power between the two countries at full capacity. The IFA2 interconnector – a 149-mile subsea power line running from Fareham in Hampshire to near Caen in Normandy – is a joint venture with the French transmission system operator RTE.
News
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has launched a consultation on the workplan for its Open Networks project in 2021. The programme, now entering its fifth year, aims to support the decarbonisation of the energy system by making networks smarter and more flexible.
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